In view of rising energy prices, many people are looking for cheap alternatives to heat their homes. Fraudsters take advantage of this and offer products such as firewood and pellets at bargain prices via fake shops on the Internet. How to expose such offers – and what you can do if you are a victim of such a scam.

The prices for firewood have risen enormously, which attracts thieves. Fake shops allegedly offer firewood and pellets, but then do not deliver and thus rip off citizens. At least that’s what the Lower Saxony Consumer Advice Center has been observing for a few weeks and is warning of dubious offers of combustible materials on the Internet.

“Even during the corona crisis, we saw that dubious providers are taking advantage of the situation for themselves,” says Kathrin Körber from the Lower Saxony consumer center. At that time there were suddenly more fake shops for garden items, beach chairs and bicycles. Disinfectants or respiratory masks, for example, were also offered at inflated prices. “Now we are experiencing the same phenomenon with fireplace wood, firewood and wood pellets,” Körber continues.

Examples of fake shops are and Both shops are well done and have a complete imprint. “On closer inspection, however, it becomes apparent that the pages are not hosted in Germany, have only been online for a short time and have also been listed as fake shops several times,” explains the legal expert. For example, a customer ordered wood from for 1600 euros and paid in advance, but never received the wood.

The Federal Association of Firewood Trade and Firewood Production (BuvBB) has already warned of fraud when buying firewood online. “Those interested paid for the wood they wanted in advance, for example by credit card or bank transfer, but did not receive the goods.” Recently, there were so many that calls from victims could no longer be answered.

The following fake shops have already been reported to the BuvBB:

According to BuvBB, the fraudsters took advantage of the fact that firewood has become significantly more expensive at the moment and that many people are therefore looking for bargains. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the prices for firewood, wood pellets or other solid fuels increased by an average of 96 percent in November compared to the previous year.

The European Consumer Center is also familiar with the tricks used by online fraudsters. They often advertise that the goods can be purchased far more cheaply in neighboring EU countries than in the home country – or that, despite empty stocks in Germany, fuel is still available in the neighboring country.

According to the European Consumer Center, some criminals do not even shy away from identity theft. “Many scammers use the name, address, commercial register number or even the sales tax identification number of reputable, real companies,” according to the association.

So that consumers do not fall for the fake shops, the European Consumer Center has created a checklist with five points that can be used to identify fake offers. Customers should check the following:

If you want to reduce the risk of being taken in by fraudsters when buying firewood and pellets, you should also make payments on the Internet by credit card or via a payment service provider that offers additional protection. In the event of fraud, however, consumers must react quickly if they want to get their money back, as deadlines often apply here. A purchase on account also offers more security.

The symbol of a closed padlock and the letters “https” instead of “http” should appear in the website’s address, advises the European Consumer Center. In this way, consumers could check whether their payment page is secure.

If consumers have already been the victim of a fraud, they should definitely report it to the police. A message to the consumer advice center at https://www. also helps here.